Once again I have used my hand dandy Webster’s to look up a word which in this case is the word “sober.” Now everyone knows meaning number 1, not drunk. What about the other meanings? Here’s one: 3. “Straightforward: serious 4. Plain or subdued, ie sober attire for church. 5. Devoid of frivolity, exaggeration, or speculative imagination <gave a sober assessment of the problem> 6. self-controlled and sane: reasonable. I would like to add the idea of a “sobering experience.” Or, Level heads and sober minds came to a well-reasoned conclusion.
If you are thinking this sounds strangely like something you might here in an A.A. meeting, you are quite correct! You might indeed but don’t let the fact that I have attended such meetings for the past 16 plus years color your thinking. Or maybe it should.
I look around me today, particularly which I am forced to consider things of a political nature, or worse, drive on one of our interstate highways. All around me I see thousands of people who are in desperate need of a 12 step meeting and most are not even alcoholics! Yes, I am suggesting that the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous need to be exclusive to alcoholics. Indeed, to just such an end, Overeaters Anonymous uses the “Big Book” of A.A. and its 12 steps as the basis of their program, and it works!
Step 1 — My life is a mess /nuts and I seem to have lost control of my own little universe.
Step 2 — I have decided that since this all this stuff seems too much for any one person, I am going to pray to God for help.
Step 3 – Having identified those things over which I seem to have no control, I’m calling in help, additionally, I am letting go of any idea that I either can figure it all out by myself or that I can do it alone, I CAN’T! So I’m passing some stuff off to God.
4. All these resentments I have a wearing me out. I am going to figure out why I have them and how to get rid of them, permanently.
5. I can’t do step 4 alone so I am going to enlist a trusted friend to hear my problems and assist me in removing them.
6. I need to make a list of my short comings, and a plan to rid myself of them.
7. Well, once again I cannot do the previous step alone so I enlist assistance.
8. Time to consider all those people I have wrong over the years, institutions too. And yet again I enlist the trusted advisor to objectively look at my list and edit it.
9. I make amends!
10. I have decided that what I have gained thus far is considerable so at this point I will take a daily personal inventory to insure my commitment to continually doing the next right thing.
11. I have found a little prayer and a lot of thought and mediation keep me in touch both with myself and that which I see as a higher power.
12. Now I get to show the rest of the world, through my actions, that I have improved myself but I must insure the message is honest and available to them if the desire it.
See there, no mention of alcohol and yet makes all the same points at AA’s 12 steps. That definition I put all the way back at the top comes back into play here, as does the title. People who have discovered the advantages of a spiritual life manage sober thoughts and sober thinking without much effort. They have practiced it for so long that it has become second nature to them.
I think 90% of all American adults, if not more, could benefit from using the 12 Steps of AA. A strange things to people who practice them religiously, they change. And that change is both dramatic and wonderful. They grow up, become responsible, are reliable, good husbands, wives, and children as well as employees. They understand implicitly that denial is the first step towards failure.
Right now I would love to give the entire American Congress a 12 step program but I fear that cannot be as totally honest such a program requires.
You do not have to be an alcoholic to go to an AA meeting. I guarantee if you do go, you will absolutely get something out of it. Consider this: there is absolutely no down side to never taking another drink; and there is no up side to taking a drink.